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T.C. Heath

T.C. Heath

Senior Risk Analyst, AIG Enterprise Risk Management group

Degree

BBA 2006 (finance), Risk Management and Insurance Certificate, M.S. Georgia State University (RMI)


You attended the UI and received the RMI Certificate along with a finance degree, then went to Georgia State University for a master's degree in RMI. What led to those decisions?

The certificate overlapped with the finance requirements and served to separate me from fellow graduates. I really enjoyed Professor Leverty’s classes and corporate risk management topics. When I graduated, it wasn’t clear to me what exactly I could do, but I knew there were a lot of insurance jobs out there. I moved to Atlanta and started working in the claims industry, where I worked for Crawford & Co., a third-party claims administrator. I did property and casualty claims for a little over a year, but I knew I wanted to be more on the quantitative side of risk management. I spoke with Ty Leverty, who did his Ph.D. at Georgia State University, and we agreed that GSU would be a great place for more me to continue my education in risk management. I studied there 1.5 years, and shortly thereafter, in 2011, I moved to New York City to get the job I’d always wanted. I was just promoted in April 2013 to senior risk analyst in AIG’s Enterprise Risk Management group.

What did you experience in the Vaughan Institute that helps you in your job today?

Gaining knowledge about the insurance policies and business and overall about risk management has helped me. Surprisingly, in modeling work, it helps me a lot. It’s a definite advantage to have quantitative skills as well as a detailed understanding of how the policies work. That’s been a huge help for me and for my career.

What do you do in your current position?

I mainly focus on credit portfolio analytics, or credit risk. I’m helping build out a platform where we can model all of the company’s credit risk exposures, creating a firm-wide view of credit risk. It is complex and very interesting.

What do you like about it?

It’s challenging, and that’s fun. I’m doing things in risk management that most others are not doing. Every day is different. I can be programming in Excel, doing quantitative analysis, or working with IT to ensure the model requirements we developed are properly being automated. I’m also working directly with business units to explain how risk is assigned to them.

Why did you move to New York City?

It was to get the job I’d always wanted. New York is really where a lot of great enterprise risk management jobs can be found.

What is it like living in NYC?

It was definitely an adjustment. The city is so diverse and has an energy you won’t find anywhere else. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so you have to be efficient, both inside and outside of work.

Would you change anything about your education or career?

My career has been perfect. Risk management fits my personality very well. I love what I do and am excited to see where I’ll end up with risk management.

For schooling, I perhaps would have taken more math/statistics and programming courses to help build my technical skills at younger age. Overall, I’m pretty happy.

What steps should students take if they aspire to a career like yours?

I think it starts with being very well rounded. Risk management is about understanding everything around you and how the world works. It’s important to be well read and up-to-date with markets and with your education.

What personality traits are suited to corporate risk management?

Having curiosity in how everything works around you and being detail oriented. You have to be willing to dig into details, even if it’s not the subject you’re most interested in. I also think being humble is important in risk management, because the moment you think you know everything is the moment you’ll be in trouble.

Other thoughts?

Coming from Iowa and eventually making my way to New York City was initially a jarring experience. I knew I would have to make some sacrifices, but I was shocked at the small size of the apartments for the price. Even after only two years, however, it has been more than worth it. I would say if you are given a great opportunity, don’t be afraid to go for it.

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